How to Properly Clean and Oil Your K&N Air Filter
If you drive a hot rod, muscle car, race car, or any other type of vehicle for that matter, chances are you probably have a K&N Air Filter installed in one of your rides. What has become one of the simplest performance upgrades you can add to your vehicle, is often the most overlooked, as far as maintenance is concerned.
We are all guilty of this at one time or another; we install that new K&N filter and simply forget its there. So as time passes, that once new filter accumulates thousands of miles of dirt and debris impairing airflow and hindering performance.
Is it K&N’s million-mile warranty or the fact that our air filter has no moving parts that makes it that much easier to neglect? K&N manufactures their filters to be good for the life of your vehicle (with proper cleaning and maintenance). The million-mile warranty doesn’t mean install it and forget about it.
We brought this tech article to you to show how easy and simple it is to recharge your K&N filter so it’ll continue to provide many years of service, and to help maintain the high air flow that it was originally designed for. We have also attached video courtesy of K&N, to show you how easy the process is.
K&N sells the proper recharge kits which contain the correct cleaner and oil to service your filters. They manufacture both cotton fiber filters and synthetic fiber filters which are their Hybrid and Dryflow-type elements. Your filter application will designate which type of filter you have, so make sure you purchase the correct cleaner for your filter.
As a rule of thumb, you should do a visual inspection about every 15 thousand miles for regular highway driving. You may have to inspect your filter more frequently if you live where there is a lot of dust or dirt roads, as your environment will impact the amount of service your filter will require.
K&N’s Tim Martin explained, “K&N air filters can go up to 50,000 miles before they require cleaning under normal highway driving conditions. They should be cleaned more often in dusty conditions. You should also clean them more often for the best appearance on an exposed element air filter.”
K&N says although some visible dirt on the filter is okay and it may actually help the filter’s ability to clean the air entering it, the filter should be cleaned and recharged when you are unable to see the aluminum mesh that en capsules the filter.
If you find that your K&N filter needs to be recharged, remove it from your vehicle and gently tap it out to remove the heavier dirt from it before spraying it with the K&N cleaner.
Spray your filter with the K&N cleaner liberally and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before rinsing. Rinse the element from the inside first with low pressure water, then rinse it from the outside.
For very dirty filters, you may have to repeat the cleaning procedure and rinse again. Shake the filter out to remove excess water and allow it to air dry for a couple of hours. If you must speed up the process, you can use a hair dryer with no heat to help dry the filter.
Do not use high pressure air because it will destroy the filtering capabilities of the filter’s microfibers and also void its warranty.
Once the filter is dry, you can now apply the oil. If using the aerosol type oil, spray the filter with one good coat of oil and let it saturate for about 20 minutes, then if required, touch up any areas that need it until you have a uniform coating of oil.
If your using the squeeze bottle oil, apply the oil going length-wise along the pleats, making sure to apply it to each pleat, then let it wick for about 30 minutes, before installing it.
Your K&N filter is now recharged and is as good as new. You can now reinstall it on your car. We all know how our engines breathe air just as we do, and more airflow equals more power and efficiency for our engines. You wouldn’t want to run a marathon breathing through a straw would you, right? Neither would your engine. So the next time you open the hood, it will hopefully be second nature to look at your K&N filter and see how its performing.